Charm School is the eighth studio album from the Swedish pop duo of Marie Fredriksson and Per Gessel – better known as Roxette.
While they released albums through the ‘90s and in early 2001, they had very little play in the United States. This lack in air play kept Roxette a distant memory to many listeners of their 80’s fame. In 2002, Fredriksson was diagnosed with a brain tumor that was later successfully removed. Each member went on to release solo albums and take a much needed rest. But now they are back, and their album is a mixture of their past, their present and their interpretation of the future.
Charm School’s dynamic accumulation of sounds and memories delivers with the songs, “Dream On” and “After All”. They seem to take on a “Beatlesque” tonal twist with preppy, jumpy guitar lines and light but meaningful lyrics. The first song released, “She’s Got Nothing On (But the Radio) gives tribute to the sounds made famous by ABBA. I would imagine this is what ABBA might sound like with today’s style of producing and mixing, but with a ‘80s lyrical concept. “I’m Glad You Called” is by far one of the best songs. Acoustically driven, it is a song of love lost that is reminiscent of Heart and ‘90s alternative. It is a different texture for them, but it is a timeless and tragically romantic.
Roxette is definitely giving their fans a beautiful gift with this album. With its simple and delicate ballads and classic rock-pop guitar-driven melodies, Charm School is the perfect U. S. comeback album for the band.
One thing that I have always enjoyed about Roxette is their dedication to the power of love, their strength and their professional musicality. Some may find their lyrics simple, but really they paint a picture of what many of us are feeling and experiencing, and that is why their legion of fans remain large. While Charm School may seem to some listeners to not be the next big album of the year, it is an album that makes you dance, reminisce and fall in love with Roxette all over again.